Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday ~ 10 Low-Tech Student Response Options

This week's Tech Tip Tuesday has a very, very low-tech twist!

I realize there are lots and lots of schools that do not have access to the latest and greatest technology out there.  I also realize that not every single teacher is comfortable with using some forms of technology.

Moreover, there is nothing wrong with incorporating tons of good old-fashioned, pencil-and-paper ideas into our classrooms everyday.

After all, variety is the spice of life!!!

With all this is mind, I decided to share some ways that I use low-tech options for student responses in my classroom.

1.  Raise Your Hand {Obvious, simple, and it works!}
2.  Show Me With Your Hand {Students hold up 1, 2, 3, or 4 fingers to represent A, B, C, or D answers for multiple choice questions - they always love this!}

3.  Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down {After I make a statement, I have students hold thumbs up or down in they agree or disagree.  All students hands are raised at the same time so that no single wrong answer puts the spotlight on any student!}

4.  Whisper to Your Neighbor {For some reason, this is always a big hit.  If I asked my students to whisper all the time, they would think I'd lost my mind, but ask them to say their answers in a whisper and they are all over it!}

5.  Mini White Boards {This is great for those who have to keep their hands busy to stay on task!}

6.  Plastic Plates {A cheap alternative to white boards.  Buy plastic plates from Wal-Mart of the Dollar Tree that are often 3 or 4 for $1.  These work just like a dry erase board!}

7.  Post-It Graphs {I've yet to find a student who didn't like sticky notes!  I have students write their answers on a sticky and post them on the board in a line plot or bar graph fashion.  They don't have to put their names on the notes for this so they won't be embarrassed by a wrong answer, but I get a quick picture of the class level of understanding.  Whether you teach math or not, this option is great!}

8.  Post-It Parking Lot {Students write their answers on the front of the sticky and put their names on the back.  They leave the sticky on a poster decorated like a 'parking lot' on their way out or at the end of a lesson.  You can see specifically who needs help this way!}

9.  Mrs./Mr. _________'s Mailbox {Using a cheap mailbox, or even a small decorative one, have slips of paper beside it so students can leave you a little note about what they didn't understand that day.  This could also be used as an alternative to the Parking Lot idea - all students mail their Ticket-Out-the-Door to you!}

10.  Small Group Discussions {This is great for more open-ended ideas.  While students discuss the topic, you observe.  Encourage the 'right' answers and redirect the wrong ones.  Close with whole-class discussion so all students hear correct answers before leaving class!}

Along with each of these ideas, I always try to give at least 10 - 15 seconds before I call on a student to answer or show their answers.  I want all students to have time to think before feeling rushed to answer.  Many feel pressured to hurry when other students are already raising their hands or showing their answers.

I hope you have found an new idea or two today! 

Please share other low-tech ways to gather student responses you use in your own classroom in the comments below.  I would LOVE to hear from you and add some new ideas to my bag of tricks!

Enjoy :)

Making It {and smiling},


  1. I like the mailbox suggestion! Low tech is definitely a great way to go...especially since I don't have any student computers in my room!

    Teaching in Room 6

    1. Some years I've had 1 or 2 computers...and some years none!

      I've done the mailbox before, but not this year. I have missed it and will definitely be adding it back to my classroom next year!

      Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!